“Straight Outta Compton,” the dramatic feature that chronicles the rise of the rap group N.W.A. and the lives and struggles of its members (Kim “Arabian Prince” Renard Nazel, Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson, Lorenzo ‘”MC Ren” Patterson and Antoine “DJ Yella” Carraby) rose to the top of the box office this past weekend, debuting at $60.2 million.
The biopic borrows its name from N.W.A.’s 1998 debut studio album, which is considered one of the best albums of all time. Pitchfork gave it a 9.7 rating (out of 10); and Rolling Stone ranked it among the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” coming in at no. 144.
The record’s album art has proven to be just as iconic: The six members of the group stare from above into the camera lens as Eazy-E points a gun directly at the camera. The unforgettable image was made by photographer and CalArts alumnus Eric Poppleton (Art MFA ’86).
In a recent interview with CNN about the photograph, Poppleton talked about working as a freelancer just after grad school at CalArts and working with a friend and art director Kevin Hosmann on the N.W.A. gig. They followed the group around Downtown Los Angeles, experimenting with different shots on the fly, angles and natural lighting. Little did Poppleton know that this shoot would create a picture to symbolize the “gangsta rap” movement.
“In hindsight, it was just so provocative. You’re taking the perspective of someone who is about to be killed essentially. Not that they were going to do that to me,” Poppleton says. “We don’t even print that stuff in newspapers. Even at CNN, would you print an image like that?
“So how could we even propose this as an album cover?”
Still, he described the double-platinum album as a perfect blend of music and photography.
Here you had this controversial new group that “inspired a generation of listeners to a new level,” Poppleton says. “Equally important in this case is the original album artwork. The ‘Straight Outta Compton’ album cover art summed up the album’s lyrics at the time. I’m not sure this type of imagery would be so widely accepted or presented in today’s commercial marketplace.
“Back then, it was more free rein.”
Poppleton would shoot four more covers for N.W.A. before focusing his career on creating still imagery and video for sports documentary adventures. Currently the director of photography of epop media, Poppleton was in Nepal earlier this year when the earthquake struck, and CNN documented his journey to bring home the body of his best friend and fellow CalArts alumnus, filmmaker Tom Taplin (Film/Video MFA 79), who was killed at Everest Base Camp during the quake.
College of the Canyons will welcome José Rivera, award-winning playwright and the first Puerto Rican screenwriter to be nominated for an Oscar, to the School of Visual & Performing Arts’ Virtual Industry Insight Series on Monday, April 12.
Cassie Gratton knows how to open a Laemmle theater. The general manager of the Newhall Laemmle, which will open its doors with a ribbon-cutting this Friday, also helped to open Laemmle’s Glendale and Claremont locations.
Out of an abundance of caution, Los Angeles County is following the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after reports that six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed unusual types of blood clots 6 to 13 days after receiving the vaccine.
After a roller coaster of a year, the Santa Clarita Valley’s skating community once again took to the ice to celebrate the grand opening of The Cube, the city of Santa Clarita’s newly rebranded ice rink.
Los Angeles County Public Health officials will modify the Health Officer Order on Thursday, April 15, to align with changes to the state Blueprint for a Safer Economy regarding indoor live events and performances, private events such as conferences, receptions and meetings, and private informal gatherings.
College of the Canyons and Palmdale Oasis Park Recreation Center will begin operating as Los Angeles County-operated COVID-19 vaccination sites in the northern part of the county starting Monday, April 19.
A consulting firm hired by the city to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a city public health department in Santa Clarita did “not find a compelling case to change the basic structure of public health regulation” in Santa Clarita, according to a 17-page report published Friday as part of the Santa Clarita City Council’s Tuesday meeting agenda.
The Santa Clarita Valley's COVID-19 vaccination rate has increased by about 5%, as 37% of residents 16 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to data through April 4 published by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
1738 - Fr. Francisco Garcés born in Spain; came through SCV in 1776, found Tataviam fighting with Coastal Chumash, observed Santa Clara River flowing by night and dry by day despite the season being spring [story]
The California Community College Athletic Trainers Association has named longtime athletic trainer, and current College of the Canyons associate athletic director, Chad Peters its 2021 Athletic Trainer of the Year.
The Santa Clarita City Council Legislative Committee briefly met Thursday morning to recommend that the City Council oppose four pieces of state legislation that would expand the state’s land-use authority.
In recognition of public safety dispatchers' services, the California Highway Patrol joins other law enforcement agencies to recognize National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week on April 11-17, 2021.
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